Please click on to listen to chanting of Mantra Pushpam
(See NOTE at the end suggesting that interpreting the word aapah as referring to Brahman might make Mantra Pushpam more meaningful.).
Dear Members of the Prapatti Group,
Here is a quick introduction to the MP, which is part of the Surya Namaskara Prasnam section of The Taittiriya Aranyakam. This Prasnam( Vedic Lesson ) as I indicated in an earlier posting is also known as Arunopanishad by Sri Vidya Worshippers.
There are 32 Anuvakas (Sections) in the Surya Namaskara Prasnam. The number of Panchasats (Individual Mantras) in this Prasnam add up to 130 . The eight Anuvaka is a prelude to the Mantra Pushpam that is housed in the 22nd Anuvakam.
The Anuvakams preceding the eigth deal with the measures of time. The eigth Anuvakam starts off by stating that all of the units of "Time" enter into "water" ,which inturn enters into Agni , which ultimately merges with the energy of Surya. Eight forms of Agnis are then described.
In the 22nd anuvaka dealing with mantra pushpam, "water" is recognized as the most fundamental of "elements". The relationship between "water" and moon , agni, surya , vayu and stars is described and saluted. At the end of this anuvaka, the reciter visualizes the entire world as floating in the immensity of "water" .the mantra pushpam riks are linked with the mosrt sacred aruna ketukam ritual.
There are 12 panchasata(individual mantra/riks) in the 22nd anuvakam . I will attempt to trnslate these mantras later.
Veda purushaaya nama:
Mantra Pushpam -- Part 2
V. Sadagopan 16 Oct 96
FOURTH DAY OF NAVARATHRI--1996
Dear Sri Vijay Srinivasan and fellow members of the
Prapatthi/Bhakthi group :
It gives me great pleasure to attempt a translation of
the majestic and marvellous mantras of Mantra Pushpam . The effort to
translate this extraordinary conception of
the centrality of "Aapaa: " is
equivalent to describing the wind-blown
fragrance of a divine flower.May this meager attempt be blessed by the Veda
Purushan invoked by the Rks of
Purusha ,NarayaNa and VishNu Sookthams !
An introduction to Manra Pushpam was covered in the
earlier posting ( May 14, 1996 ). Sri Vijay Srinivasan kindlly recovered that
for me and forwarded it .For the sake of continuity , I will summarize what I
referred to in that posting and add
a few more points here to serve as a prelude to
the observations onnthe individual rks of Mantra Pushpam ..
The mantras of Mantra Pushpam are part of the Surya Namaskara Prasnam (SNP) of the Taittiriya Aaranyakam . There are 32 anuvaakaas (sections ) in Surya Namaskara Prasnam. The eighth anuvaakam is a prelude to the concepts enshrined in the text of Mantra Pushpam that we find as the twenty second anuvaakam of SNP . The twenty ninth anuvaakam of Maha NarayanOpanishad of KrishNa Yajur Vedam is another excellent reference to the subject matter of Mantra Pushpam .
The anuvaakams preceding the eighth of SNP deal with the
measures of TIME . The eighth anuvaakam
starts off by staing that all of
the units of TIME enter in to WATER , which in turn
enters into AGNI , which ultimately merges with the energy of Surya
Murthy at whose center is Sriman Narayana . The eight forms of Agni merging as
one with Surya Murthy is also covered in
this anuvaakam .
The 22nd anuvaakam celebrated in Bhagavad AarAdhanam
daily deals with WATER as the most fundamental of " ELEMENTS ".
The relationship between WATER and MOON , AGNI , SURYA , VAYU , STARS and TIME
are described and celebrated here . The
Mantra Drishtaa visulaizes the entire world as floating in the immensity
of WATER . The Mantra Pushpa Rks are linked with the most sacred AruNa Kehukam rites . There are 12 panchasats (
individual mantrAs) in this anuvAkam .
Mahaa NaarayaNOpanishad : Twenty Ninth Anuvaakam
The above anuvaakam summarizes the thoughts that are
elaborated in the Mantra Pushpam . Hence we will study this anuvaakam
first . The text of the AnuvAkam is as follows :
aapOHO vaa idhagum sarvam viswaa bhuthaanyApa: prANaa
vaa aapa: pasava aapOannamApOamrutamApa ; samradApO
viradApa: svarAdApaschandhAgum syApO jyothigumshApO
yajugumshyApa: satyamApa: sarvA devathA aapO bhur bhuva: suvarApa Om II
Swami Vimalanndha's excellent translation following
that of SayanA and BhattabhAskara is provided below :
" Verily all this is water. All the created beings are water .the vital breaths in the body are water. Quadrupeds are water. Edible crops are water. Ambrosia is water. Samraat is water. Viraat is water. Svaraat is water. The metres are water. The luminaries are water. Vedic formulas are water. Truth is water. All deities are water. The three worlds denoted by bhuh: bhuvaha: and suvaha : are water. The source of all these is the supreme denoted by the syllable OM ."
Swami Vimalanda points out here that the Para Brahman is eulogized as WATER aapa: (See NOTE at the end).
His resplendent and multifaceted effulgence is referred to in this rk as Samraat (perpetually shining), Viraat (manifoldly shining) and Svaraat (self-luminous) according to Bhattabhaskara .
Sayana intreprets Saamrat as " SuthrAtmA
HiraNyagarbha:" . Viraat as the "BrahmANda dEha Purusha :"
visualized by the Purusha Sooktham
. . Svaraat is intreprepreted by
Sayana as " avyAkruthAbhimAni Iswara: ". Sayana
concludes with a reference to the revelatory
statement of this rk as
" apAm mula KaaraNam PraNava Prathipadhyam Brahmaiva " . The source of
all these (described in this rk such as vital breaths, the three worlds et al )
is the Supreme , denoted by the syllable OM . This then is an apt introduction
to the thoughts elaborated in the Mantra Pushpam rks.
Sequel to Mantra Pushpam: the 7th anuvAkam of SNP
Mantra Pushpam -- Part 3
V. Sadagopan 19 Oct 96
SEQUEL TO MANTRA
PUSHPAM: 8TH ANUVAAKAM
In the previous section associated with
MahAnarAyNOPanishad , we were instructed that the source of the
water principle is the
syllable OM denoting the self luminous Purusha . Another passage of MahAnArayaNOpanishad explains further how
Parama Purusha created the Water and for what purpose and
how water serves as the central principle . That portion of the Upanishad is as follows :
ARDHA MAASAA MAASAAM RUTHAVA:
SAMVATSARASCCHA KALPANTHAAM I
SA AAPA: PRADHUDEH UBEH IMEH
ANTHARIKSHAM ATHO SUV A: II
Here the ancient Vedic teaching pertaining to the Parama
Purusha being the source and support of
all the principles and objects of the Universe is revealed . This passage states
that the Smallest unit of time (NImesha/time talen to wink one's eyes ) to the
largest (Samvatsara /an Year ) were born from this self luminous Purusha . None
of the units of time are thus permanent
or independent. Then the Upanishad goes on to state that He milked water (Aapa:
) and the other two (viz)., the
firmament(Anthariksham ) and the heaven (suva: ) .
The purpose of His milking these triad implies that they were generated
by the Purusha for " the sustenance and enjoyment of
the transmigrating souls through the agency of time on the earth
and in the firmament and in heaven ."
With the introduction provided by the above mantram of
the upanishad, we can now focus on the 8 th anuvaakam of the Surya Namaskara
Prasnam (SNP) serving as a sequel to the Mantra Pushpam
passages housed in the 22nd Anuvaakam of the SNP . The relevant passage
of the 8th anuvaakam starts off
asking the following questions :
Where does this cloud enter and rest ? Where does the
assembly of time known as the
year(Samvarsaram ) reach laya ? Where does the day
find its resting place ? O Lord ! what about the night ? Where do the
months , pakshas(half months ) ,
muhurthaas and Nimeshaas seek as the place of
merging ? Where do the sources of water go , when the ponds and rivers
dry up ? What is the power
principle behind these phenomena ? Now
the Upanishad answers the above questions and states that time and its units
enter the water principle. Latter
in turn enter and merge with the Lord known
as Surya NaarayaNan. That powerful and universal controller absorbs the water and the time that is embedded in it and in
the next cycle generates them again . This revelation provides the sequel
to the relationships described in detail by the different manthraas
of the Mantra Pushpam that we use every day in Bhagavad AarAdhanams.
TWENTY SECOND ANUVAAKAM & MANTRA PUSHPAM
The recitation of the Mantra Pushpam has a majestic and
sonorous effect that is almost mesmerizing . There are 12
mantras in the Mantra Pushpam housed in the 22nd Anuvaakam.. The first
set includes the panchaasats( individual mantrams) 78 to 84. The second set
covers the two panchaasats from 85 to 86 .
The second section is connected to the yagam known as
AaruNa Kethuka sayanam (AKS ). The third and
final section consists of three mantras from 87 to 89and is also
associated with the AKS . We shall
attempt to understand the meanings of the
three sections .
The mantras of the first section ( Rks 78-84) instruct us
that Water is the aadhaaram ( base
or supporting principle) and Aadheyam
(containing principle ) for all units of time and created beings as well as vital breaths, edible crops, truth
and Vedic meters as indicated by the twenty ninth anuvaakam of Maha
NarayaNOpanishad. These Rks declare that the person who meditates on Jalam or
Aapa: as Sarva Devathaa Svarupam is bound to gain all auspicious fruits . Such a
decalration finds its echo in the
Sandhyaa Vandana Mantram starting with :
" AAPOHISHTAA MAYOH BHUVASTHAA NA URJEH DHADHATANA
AAPOH JANAYATHAA CHA NA: "
(Meaning ) : " O waters , verily You are
bliss-conferring. being such, grant us food , and great and beautiful insight
(of the Supreme Truth ) . Further make us in this very life
participants of that joy of Yours , which is most auspicious , just like
fond mothers (who nurse their darlings with nourishment).
May we attain to that
satisfactory abode of Yours , which You are
pleased to grant us . Generate for us also the waters of life and
pleasures on earth (during our sojourn here ) ."
The aboveTaittiriy Samhita rk captures the spirit of the elevation of Aapa: as the Sarva Deva Svarupa principle known as Jalaabhimaani Devathaa. For the Jnanis, water is not the thirst quenching and body cleansing element , but has divinity implicit in it.
Mantra Pushpam -- Part 4
V. Sadagopan 20 Oct 96
***MANTRA PUSHPAM RKS & THEIR MEANINGS
*** PANCHASAT 78
yOapAm pushpam veda I pushpavAn prajAvAn
bavathi I chandramA vaa apAm pushpam I
pushpavAn prajAvAn pasumAn bavathi I
ya yevam veda I yOpAmAyathanam veda I
aayathanavAn bavathi I agnirvaa apaamaayathanam I
aayathanavAn bavathi I yOagnerAyathanam veda II
Here the two way relationship between the Moon and
Waters (Aapa: ) is explored . The
mantram states : " One who understands the nature of the flower of
the waters becomes blessed with flowers , good progeny , abundunant cows and
cattle . Moon is indeed the
flower of waters (Chandramaa vaa apAm pushpam) . "
Here the reference is to the birth of the Moon , when the "waters" of the milky ocean were churned by BhagavAn. The moon rose like a lotus flower from those waters. Hence the Moon's originating place, abode , base is the waters . Therefore Aapa: is the Aayathanam (the abode) for the Moon. Water has another relationship to the Moon. It arises from the cool rays of the Moon. Hence , the Moon serves as the Aayathanam for the waters. The Rk therefore declares " ChandramA vaa ApaamAyathanamI aapO vai Chandramasa Aayathanam ". Thus Water is the Aadharam and Aadheyam for the Moon.
The relationship betwen the Moon , Heavens, firmament and
waters and their directing force PraNava svarupi , the Supreme Purusha of
Purusha Suktham has been alluded to in the earlier section. Many other
Vedic passages dwell on this important relationship. For example, Yajur Veda
manthram ( XXIII--59& 60 ) asks a question on this subject The question is :
"Who knoweth the paramount Lord of this World ? Who
knoweth the heven , the earth and the wide
space between them ? Who knoweth the creator of the mighty Sun ?
Who knoweth the Moon , and whence she was generated ?
The answer in the next mantram is :
VEDHAHAMASYA BHUVANASYA NAABHIM VEDA
DHYAAVAA PRUTHVEE ANTHARIKSHAM
VEDA SURYASYA BRUHATHO JANITHRAMATHO
VEDA CHANDRAMASAM YATOJAA:
" O Questioner ! I know the paramount Lord of this
World. I know the Heaven, the earth and the wide space between them . I
know the efficient and physical cause of the mighty Sun . I know the Moon and
her creator ."
In another mantram (Yajur Vedam VII-- 16 ) , the
relationship between the Moon and
the waters, the subject of the first panchasat
of Mantra Pushpam is hinted . Veda Purusha
declares " -- I fix in its orbit , in the midst of spacious regions
, this beautiful Moon
that covers the luninous stars , and is linked
with the Sun and the Waters
that it attracts .---".
Two Saamans from Sama Veda pay homage to the interdependence between the Purusha and the
created entities such as Water, Air, Agni , Sun , Earth, Heaven and
firmament .The firsyt is from Aranya KhAnda ( Decade V-3 ) . This is the
famous mantram :
CHAKSHURMITRASYA VRUNASYAAGNEH I
AAPRAA DHYAAVAA PRUTHVEE ANTHARIKSHAGUM
SURYA AATMAA JAGATHASTASTHUSHASCCHA II
" God is wonderful and powerful amongst all the
forces of nature and learned persons . He is the manifestor of air, water and
fire. He pervades the Sun , Earth and atmosphere.
He is the creator and sustainer of all that moveth and
moveth not ." The realtion between Aapa: , Agni , Vaayu , Sun, Moon
, Stars and Time and Purusha , the subject matter of the
mantrams of Mantra Pushpam , is covered here.
Yet another (Uttaraarchika) Saman talks specifically
about the relationship between Aapa: and the blessings arising from the
true understanding of the Sarva Devatha Svarupam
of the waters . That Saman is the 1839th Saman:
TASMAA ARAM GAMAAMA VOH YASYA KSHAYAAYA
JINVATHA I AAPOH JANAYATHAA CHA NA : II
" O Waters , for the removal of which impurity ye
impel us , for the removal of the same we speedily go unto ye . Give us children
, who mkae the right use of water." The suggestion is that those , who use
the water correctly and understand its significance would become "
PushpavAn, PrajAvAn and PasumAn
One verse from Atharva Veda ( Anuvaka 5- hymn XX!-2 )
refers to the relation between the Agni and water and states : " All fires that are in Water ( Vadavaanalam in the
Ocean, lightning in Clouds, digestive fire found in humans, ripening fire found
in herbsand plants ) -- may all these fires be put to proper use ".
The realtion between Agni and Water is the topic of the
firsy mantram of Mantra Pushpam ( Agnirvaa apaam aayathanam I
aayathanavaan bavathi I yOagneraayathanam veda I ) ,
In the order of creation, Upanishad states "Agneraapa: ".
Agni thus the receptacle of Jalam . From Jalam , the fire under the ocean
(Vadavaagni ) is produced. Hence as in the case of
Chandran , Agni also has a dual relation (Aadharam and Aadheyam ).
In a similar vein , Vayu, Surya, Stars , Rain and Time
have the dual relationship to Aapa:
. " Kaalaa Apsu Nivasanteh I Aapaa
Suryeh Samaahitaa: I
The all encompassing nature of Aapa: in the spirit of
Maha Narayana Upanishad Vakhyam ( AapOvaa Idagum Sarvam , Sarva Bhoothaanyaapa:
-- Bhur bhuva suvaraapa OM ) , the
84th panchasat visualizes the
entire Universe as a gigantic ship floating on the immensity of Water . An Upaasaka , who understands the world as a ship
moving steadily in the gigantic waters is recognized by the
84th panchasat as a Sthitha Prajnan . He understands the
cosmic relationship between the Water as a sarva Devathaa svarupi
entering into Purusha .
Mantra Pushpam --Part 5
V. Sadagopan 21 Oct 96
NAVARATHRI SEASON : VIJAYA DASAMI DAY
In the previous Panchasats ( 78
--84 ) , the Adhaara/Aadheya
Relationship of Water to the Moon ,
Agni , Vaayu , Sun , Constellations, Time/Year and Rain were pointed out . The concluding 86 th Panchasat pays
homage to a person of steadfast
mind (Sthitha Prajnaa described in Srimad
Bhagavat Gita ) , who is able
through meditation to concieve the entire world in the form of a giant ship
consecrated and floating in the immensity of
all pervasive water . This Panchasat is as follows :
AAYATHANAVAAN BAVATHI I SAMVATSARO VAA
APAAYATHANAM I AAYATHANAVAAN BAVATHI I YA:
SAMVATSARASYAAYATHANAM VEDA : I AAYATHANAVAAN
BAVATHI I AAPO VAI SAMVATSARASYAAYATHANAM I
AAYATHANAVAAN BAVATHI I YA YEVAM VEDA I yO
apsunaavam prathishtithaam veda I pratyeva Thistathi I
This mantram recognizes the evolved soul , who fully
understands the cosmic relationship of all that has been created in the
way that Purusha Suktham describes and the
central relatonship of Water to the World and the Lord's
The 85th and the 86th Panchasats take off from this lofty
conception . They describe the mantras associated with the performance of the Yajnam known as AaruNa Kethuka
Sayanam . The blessings that one receives from the performance
of that yajnam is Surya
Saayujyam .The meaning of these
mantras are : These worlds are rooted in Water. That is well known and pointed
out by these mantras. The essence (rasam )
of Water is shining is manifested as white effulgence in the
orbit of the Sun. I collect the essence of the essence of the waters and
offer it unto you in sacred vessels . Therefore , the world
is the distilled essence of essences of waters. That essence of essence is
established in Surya Mandalam .
The word Rasam has a rich and powerful meaning in the
Vedic context . The translation as essence is a minimal description.
This mantra is recited In Soma Yaga , when Soma Rasam is offered to the
Devas for attaining the boon of Surya Saayujyam .
The 86 th
mantram deals with the observances of te Yajnas like Agni Hothram , Darsa PurNa
MAsam and Chaathurmaasya, where AaruNa Kethuka Sayanam is an essential part. The
86 th mantram describes the steps
for performing this yajna in the proper
The last three mantras of the 22nd Anuvaakam of SNP deal
with the Yajnas and Krathus that include AaruNa kethuka Sayana Agni and the
presence or absence of Yupa Sthampam in these
sacrificial rites. They mention that the descendants of
the sage Chaandilya inquired about the fruits of AKS . The detailed
correlation between the worship of different Agnis associated with
different Yajnaas is included . For example , the one who worships
the agni known as Saavithram would have the fruit of the Saakshaatkaaram
of Surya Bhagavan. Vaayu appears before one , who worships the
Agni known as Naachiketam .
The anuvaakam concludes with the revelation that one who
worships the Aruna kethuaka Agni
will be blessed with all auspicousness in this
and the other worlds. "Mithunavaan Bavathi " is the actual
words used by the last panchaasat. The reason for these abundant blessings
is given as the comprehension that Jalam is united inextricably with Agni.
Thus ends the majestic Mantra Pushpa Anuvaakam.
Veda Purushaaya Nama:
Oppiliappan Koil Varadachari Sadagopan
Interpreting the word aapah as referring to Brahman might make Mantra Pushpam more meaningful.
Earlier, it was stated: "Swami Vimalanda points out here that the Para Brahman is eulogized as WATER, aapa:
In a recent posting dated 20th
Oct. 2002 (reproduced
below) in the Bhakti-List , Sri K. Sreekrishna Tatachar has suggested that
understanding the word apAm as referring to the Lord (Brahman) might make
MP more meaningful:
Date: Sun, 20 Oct 2002
Subject: Re: Mantrapushpam
The meaning of the popular and uplifting Mantrapushpam from aruNa prashna of KYV araNyakam has always baffled me. I have pondered over different books and talked to different shrOtrIyAs, but unfortunately never got a satisfactory answer. Finally, I resolved it for myself. If we translate apAm of yOpAm (yaH + aPam) as the Lord (Brahman) it makes lot of sense.
(Note: Sri Sadagopan in one of
his MP commentaries has implied this meaning for aPam.
In fact one of the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam books also suggests LORD for apAm).
The best of anything or anyone
is considered as flowering of a civilization.
Thus, OapAm pushpam veda pushpavAn prajAvAn bavathi can be paraphrased as:
one who realizes the pushpam (greatness, blessing or blosoming) of Lord,
becomes pushpavAn (Great, blessed) or blossoms.
One who realizes the sustaining
power of the Lord becomes sustained.
(Compare Christian belief: If you realize Jesus died for your sins, you are saved).
Rest of MP also becomes readily
very meaningful, because rain, Moon, years, fire, Sun
are all outpourings (extension) of parabrahman.
We can very well see the water-lord comnnection in appa for father, as well as Ap is respectful way of addressing people in the Hindi language. Embodiment of water (thIrtha rUparu for elders in Kannada), thI-rtha sthalam for holy places.
K. Sreekrishna Tatachar